Alexander McQueen: between fashion and art


14 March – 2 August 2015 @ Victoria and Albert Museum, London. He can be loved, but also be mistaken. He can fascinate, but sometimes even irritate. Notwithstanding this, one thing is sure: today, what is by many defined as McQueen “style” has another time revealed its alluring facet, its most authentic expression: the theatrical one. Celebrating the extraordinary creative talent of one of the most innovative designers of recent times, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty is the first and largest retrospective of McQueen’s work to be presented in Europe.

It’s been five years since the death of Alexander McQueen, but time and fashion, have yet to forget the prince of gothic design. According to the curator of the exhibit, Sam Gainsbury,”McQueen was an artist whose medium of expression was fashion, who was able to change the way we look at fashion.”


The 14th of March marks the opening of Savage Beauty, an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, that celebrates the romanticism and darkness of his work.

London is the designer home town and, for this reason, this city plays an important role in his life. He actually once said of London: “It’s where my heart is, and where I get my inspiration”, so no other city in the world could host such an important event. But this love is largely reciprocated: in 2011, thousands of British devotees petitioned to have Savage Beauty brought to London after its spectacular New York debut.


But how can we define Savage Beauty? It’s a stunning and incredible exhibition shedding a light on the history, genius and the boundless creativity of one of best masters of fashion. Exaggerated, aggressive, unconventional, but also architectural, theatrical, dreamlike and fairy, Alexander McQueen is really a designer who appealed to the imagination of everybody.


The original exhibition, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, was on display at the Met in New York in 2011, but many are treating the London re-staging as McQueen’s “homecoming.” The retrospective will encompass his 18-year career, from his senior collection at Central Saint Martins to his unfinished F/W 2010 collection, totaling 244 pieces of clothing, shoes and accessories, as we can see in the video below.

The Met event was one of the best-selling exhibits ever, and rivaled those of the Mona Lisa loan and the King Tut tour in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Today, the Victoria and Albert Museum has already sold 70,000 presale tickets and has even extended its stay for an additional two weeks to accommodate demand. Clearly McQueen’s sartorial tributes to primitivism, nationalism and historicism speaks to fans across the world. He once said, “I want to be the purveyor of a certain silhouette or a way of cutting, so that when I am dead and gone people will know that the twenty-first century was started by Alexander McQueen.” Well, I think he probably succeed in doing it but let’s see the exhibit to be sure of it!

Giulia Ferrari


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